Le Paradou


Paradou wines are wines that are to be discovered and shared; they invite you to remember times which you most often forget like meal times or improvised drinks with friends, pick-nicks that are to be enjoyed with friends and family. Frédéric & Alexandre wanted to infuse the wines with the values that are central to the art of living in the South of France. These pleasures are pure and simple, they are those of sharing and of enjoying the small pleasures in life. The wine-makers have tried to let the great varietals of the South of France and the Rhone Valley find their expression in their utmost purity. Paradou wines are very accessible and are an introduction to the more complex assembly of AOP wines from the Rhone and the Languedoc while a reminder that France can offer excellent quality-price ratios.

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In Provençal, which is the language of the Oc country, Paradou means the “fulling mill”. The word comes from the latin « parare » which means to « prepare ». The Paradou belongs to the Chaudiere family and is the Guest House of Château Pesquié. It is an old mill that was built from the 12th to the 13th centuries on the banks of the Auzon river. It belonged to Guilhem de Pascalis, knight of the order of the Holy Cross and is part of a group of four mills situated between the village of Mormoiron and the village of Mazan.

Over time, the mill was integrated into a large Provençal Mas (house) which was situated along a Roman road. The Paradou was initially built for the preparation of wool and cloth using the fuller’s earth that surrounds the property. This was a very lucrative industry for the community because the raw materials were available on site. Later, the mill was used to produce olive oil and is still surrounded by vines and olive trees today.

The Team

Alexandre & Frédéric Chaudière are from a family that has produced generations of wine-makers at the Château Pesquié in the Ventoux, South of the Rhone Valley. In 2005, when they created the Paradou range, they decided to give themselves a new challenge. These two thirty or so year old brothers have always shared a passion for wine. Since he was a mere boy, Alexandre has been certain that he would become a wine-maker and he studied viticulture and oenology at Mâcon and worked in many of the world’s wine-making regions (Bourgogne, Rheingau, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Australia, Côte-Rôtie, etc.) to build a solid experience as a wine-maker.

After Bachelors’ degrees in Philosophy and in History from the Sorbonne and a Masters’ degree from Sciences Po Paris, Frédéric brings a slightly different outlook to wine-making as well as his marketing competence. The project started in the Luberon, but over time the Chaudière brothers decided to avoid the rigours of the AOP to be completely free to create fresh and sexy wines.

Practices & Techniques

In the instance of both the wines, the fermentation and the storing periods are very short and exclusively in stainless steel vats and concrete vats. There is no storage in barrels or any wood used for the Paradou vintages. For the Viognier, particular attention is paid to the harvesting date in order to pick the grape when it still holds its natural acidity. In the same line of reasoning, the malolactic transformation of the Viognier is stopped so that it can stay as fresh as possible.

For the Grenache, the maceration periods are kept relatively brief (10 to 15 days) and the pumping over takes place regularly, but as gently as possible. It is important not to extract too much and to search for the fruit and the crunchiness of the grape. Paradou wines are the purest expression of the principal characteristics of these two great vines: it is the meaning of the Latin proverb « in naturalibus » which can be found on the labels.

Estate Vineyards / AVA

The Paradou vineyards are all slightly elevated on rather poor soils in order to obtain the freshest and most drinkable wines possible by avoiding being South-facing. In the case of the Viognier, the vineyard is situated North-East of Montpellier, between Nîmes et Uzès, at the foot of the Massif des Cévennes, on fairly poor chalky lime-stones soils (essentially folded Jurassic rocks) at an average altitude of 150 to 200 m which gives a slight mineral taste to the wine.

In the case of the Grenache however, most of the vineyard is situated much further West, North of Narbonne, in the Minervois, at an average altitude of 250 m on richer lime-stones and clay soils (pebbly terraces which were deposited during the substantial floods of the Quaternary Period) which makes for powerfully structured but very balanced wines.

The vineyard plots of the Paradou receive an exceptional amount of sunshine because of their situation in the Languedoc region which is characterised throughout by a Mediterranean climate: warm winters and very dry and hot summers; there is a lot of sun and very little rain, but when it rains it is often in the form of sudden downpours occurring mostly during the winter. The dominant winds that sweep the region are the “tramontane”, a cold and dry wind that chases the clouds away, and the “marin”, a humid wind that attracts the clouds.

These particularly favourable weather conditions are good for optimal maturation, but concern for the balance of the wines trumps the quest for concentration. They are also good for the development of sustainable wine-making. The Chaudière brothers are attentive to the fact that the Paradou vines should be treated with the most effective means by reducing to a strict minimum the use of synthetically produced entrants and by choosing to use organic amendments and mechanical weeding.

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